Catherine West

Catherine Elizabeth West[1] (born 14 September 1966) is a Labour Party politician in the United Kingdom. She was first elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Hornsey and Wood Green in May 2015.

Catherine West

West in 2017
Shadow Minister for Europe and Americas
Assumed office
9 April 2020
LeaderSir Keir Starmer
Preceded byKhalid Mahmood
Shadow Minister for Sport
In office
14 January 2020  9 April 2020
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byRosena Allin-Khan
Succeeded byAlison McGovern
Shadow Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
In office
18 September 2015  30 June 2017
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byJohn Spellar
Succeeded byFabian Hamilton
Member of Parliament
for Hornsey and Wood Green
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byLynne Featherstone
Majority19,242 (31.5%)
Leader of Islington London Borough Council
In office
6 May 2010  10 October 2013
DeputyPaul Smith
Janet Burgess
Preceded byTerry Stacy
Succeeded byRichard Watts
Labour Party Group Leader
on Islington London Borough Council
In office
11 May 2004  10 October 2013
Preceded byMary Creagh
Succeeded byRichard Watts
Councillor for Islington London Borough Council
In office
2 May 2002  22 May 2014
Preceded byBarbara Sidnell
Succeeded byFlora Williamson
Personal details
Catherine Elizabeth West

(1966-09-14) 14 September 1966 (age 54)
Mansfield, Australia
Political partyLabour (1998–present)
Spouse(s)Colin Sutherland
ResidenceArchway, London
Alma materUniversity of Sydney
SOAS, University of London
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life and education

West was born on 14 September 1966 in Sydney, Australia. Her parents were both teachers. She is the great-great niece of Italian actress Italia Conti. She grew up in Sydney and was privately educated at the Ravenswood School for Girls. West studied modern languages and social work at the University of Sydney.[2] While studying there, she met her future husband Colin Sutherland and they lived together in Darwin, Northern Territory where she worked as a social worker in a refuge for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. They moved to the United Kingdom (UK) in 1998 when her husband gained a job at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.[2] She then gained a master's degree in Chinese Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.[3]

Political career

West joined the Labour Party in 1998 and became a caseworker for MP David Lammy two years later.[2] From 2 May 2002 to 22 May 2014, West was a member of the Islington London Borough Council representing the Tollington Ward. She was the leader of the council's Labour Party group from 2004 to 10 October 2013 and Council Leader from 6 May 2010 to 10 October 2013. She resigned as councillor in order to contest the 2015 general election.

She was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Hornsey and Wood Green in the 2015 general election.[4]

Following the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party, whose campaign she supported, West was promoted to the Official Opposition Frontbench as a Shadow Foreign Office Minister.[5]

During the 2016 EU membership referendum Campaign, West was involved with Britain Stronger In Europe, campaigning for the UK to remain within the European Union, arguing that "Britain would be stronger, more prosperous, more secure and more peaceful" if they were to remain within the EU. West's constituency of Hornsey and Wood Green secured the highest remain vote in the UK with 81.5% voting to remain.[6] Following the EU referendum, West confirmed she would vote against invoking Article 50 should a vote come before parliament.[7] Between September 2016 and June 2017, she was an officer of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on UK-EU Relations.[8]

In January 2017, West voted against triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the process by which EU Member States may use to withdraw from the European Union, along with 46 other Labour Party Members of parliament.[9]

West was sacked from the Labour frontbench in June 2017 after she voted in favour of an amendment to the Queen's Speech which called on the UK to remain in the European Single Market, in defiance of the Labour whip.[10]

Personal life

West is a Quaker. She is one of three Quakers elected during the 2015 general election, the others being Ruth Cadbury in the Labour Party and Tania Mathias in the Conservative Party.[11] She is married to Colin Sutherland, co-director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's Malaria Centre.[2][12] They met while studying at the University of Sydney. They have a daughter and a son.[13]

She is a dual British and Australian national.[14]


  1. "Election results". Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  2. Lamden, Tim (13 March 2015). "Labour's Catherine West: 'I know how to beat Liberal Democrats'". Ham & High.
  3. 19 May 2017 (19 May 2017). "Can you guess which single party four SOAS grads are representing in the election?". SOAS. Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  4. "Hornsey & Wood Green Parliamentary constituency". BBC. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
  5. "Catherine West MP". Retrieved 30 October 2019.
  6. Hanretty, Chris (29 June 2016). "The EU referendum: how did Westminster constituencies vote?". Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  7. West, Catherine (27 June 2016). "75% of my constituents voted to remain in the EU. I stand w/ them on this issue & I will vote against Brexit". Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  8. Commons, The Committee Office, House of. "House of Commons - Register Of All-Party Parliamentary Groups as at 12 October 2016: UK-EU Relations". Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  9. Sparrow, Andrew (1 February 2017). "MPs vote to give May power to trigger article 50 – as it happened". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  10. Asthana, Anushka (29 June 2017). "Jeremy Corbyn sacks three frontbenchers after single market vote". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  11. "First Quaker MPs elected in a decade". Quakers in Britain. Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). 8 May 2015. Archived from the original on 24 May 2015. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  12. "Colin Sutherland". London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Retrieved 29 October 2019.
  13. "Special Report: Catherine West MP reflects on her first six months in Parliament". Ham & High. 20 December 2015. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  14. Bourke, Latika (13 May 2018). "'Utterly absurd': British MPs question Australia's ban on dual citizens". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 June 2020.